Trying Before Buying

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I’m still mucking around with the wireless shutter remote. I think that thing hates me almost as much as my sewing machine. But I’ll keep going til I either Get It…or it “accidentally” gets stepped on and crushed into the asphalt.

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Fortunately not everything is as frustrating as photography! Renting plus sized clothing from Gwynnie Bee is *super* easy. I’ve been using the service for almost three years now and I’ve learned so much about what looks good on me, what I’m consistently comfortable in, even what my “fashion personality” is!

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By having the luxury of being able to try and wear many different styles before buying (or returning!) you really get a feel for what items work best for you. Trying on an item in a dressing room for a few minutes, or even bringing it home to try on with your own clothes, is just not the same as wearing an item out in the world, in and out of the car, to work, out to dinner, etc. Many things look good in the mirror when you’re primping and posing…but as soon as you start moving around in your real life, all sorts of issues can pop up! The notorious “bust gap” when you sit…or dresses that ride up Just a Little Too Much when you walk or slide into a car…or that fabric that seemed fine for two minutes in the dressing room, after 2 hours is itching your neck like crazy…etc.

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You can try Gwynnie Bee plus size rental service for one month FREE, just click the text link at the bottom of this post. I pay for the “one item out at a time” plan and typically get 4-5 different items in a month if I wear an item once and return it the next day. I don’t own a lot of clothes, so having one extra item every week really helps keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting! Give it a try for a month – you’ve got nothing to lose…and a bunch of clothing items to try!

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What I’m Wearing

This is not a sponsored post, I am not being paid to write this. I am a happy customer…and if you join up after doing the one-month free trial using my coupon code, I will make a small commission. 

GWYNNIE BEE: Why buy it when you can GB it? Free shipping. Free exchanges. Free 30-day wardrobe rental.

The weekly vlog is up on my YouTube channel. This week is In the Dressing Room at Target. I try a couple things outside my “usual.”

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Using Base Layers to Build Your Wardrobe

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This week’s video is all about using a couple simple base layers to build your wardrobe.

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I did a little “fashion math,” and realized that once you start using base layers + third item, you will start increasing the number of outfits you have in your wardrobe, exponentially.

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For example, a black tunic and leggings as the base layer + 5 different “third pieces,” whether a cardigan, vest, kimono or blazer, creates 7 different outfits. If you add another base layer – say a black turtleneck and black jeans or slacks + the same 5 different third pieces, you now have another 7 outfits, just by adding 2 additional items. Add a white tee and a pair of denim to the mix as another base layer, and those 2 items add ANOTHER 7 outfits…and so on.

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It’s kind of brilliant when you think about it. Rather than just buying things willy-nilly…”oh, I like this so I’ll buy it,” ask yourself the question, does it go well over one of your base layers. If it does, then that’s a wise purchase.

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Of course, you’re always going to want to have some “wild cards” in your wardrobe to spice things up a bit, like this black floral print. But I try to limit the number of outliers I purchase and stick to “things that will go with many other things.” That way I can make the most outfits.

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I explain it more fully in the video and you’ll see the theory in action, as I make many different outfits from just a few items.

What I Wore:

* Pink chenille cardigan from Charlotte Russe, size 3x
* Black floral top by American Rag from Gwynnie Bee, size 3x
* Black skinny jeans from Charlotte Russe, no longer in stock, size 22

 

Week in Review: Week 93

Thanksgiving is behind us and now we’re racing ahead to Christmas – and if not Christmas, what holiday (if any) will you be celebrating this winter? I feel like every year I hear about more different holidays, and really, growing up, I only heard about *my* holidays, and since that’s all my family celebrated, that’s all I knew there was. I’m so grateful that school-children these days are being taught about many different ethnicities and what they celebrate. That’s a big step towards future inclusivity.

It’s weird, in some ways I feel we’re – humanity as a whole – getting so much better about accepting that there are people that are different than we are and accepting them as just as valued? Entitled? Not sure of the right word there, but…that we ALL have a place here. No one is more entitled than anyone else…and no one is less entitled. In theory. Because in many ways I feel we’re going way off the rails as far as valuing everyone equally, and treating  them equally. And *I* certainly don’t know what the answer is – but education is a big part of it.

Whoa. That got real serious real fast. Just thinking of the holidays got me started.

Anyway. This week!  The highlight was definitely doing a photo shoot with Jennifer of Peanut&Pip Photography…with Caleb. Her photography is amazingly beautiful and I’m thrilled with the outcome (it looks like WordPress is mucking with photo quality here). My boy is getting so old and while I have tons of pictures of him, I don’t have any nice pictures of us. And I will treasure this forever.

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It’s getting more and more challenging for me to catch sunsets these days, but I did get to see this lovely sky on my way home that day.

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Work outfits for the week ahead.

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My weekly hair update, ha. It’s coming in…interesting how varied the color and growth rate is all around my head.

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Really making an effort to see as many sunsetty skies as possible. It gives me a chance to just take a moment and go, ahhhhh.

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I loved this cardi from Gwynnie Bee. You’ll see it more in an upcoming blog post.

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Up early working at the computer…and the kids were hanging out behind me.

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Another OOTD from this week. I realized I was wearing a lot of solids on solids and they needed something to break up the big expanse of “solid colored boob area,” either a necklace or a scarf. After this summer I certainly have no shortage of scarves, so…Plus, it was an exceptionally balmy day for November and I got one more day of bare legs in. Yay.

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Say it with me now….AHHHHHH.

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The current state of things. I’ve still got some boxes around but at least they’re pretty. My goal is to have the living room totally devoid of boxes before the Christmas tree arrives. I better get on that!

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And my Big News (ha)…I’m doing Vlogmas this month on my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel. Now, I’m almost embarrassed to mention it cuz the production quality is so so bad…BUT I really hope that by doing a vlog Every Single Day for the next 24 days I will have improved, at least in some areas. Anyway, the quality has nowhere to go but up, so…that’s something to look forward to! They’re short, just sort of a look at my day, a little fashion, a little miscellaneous. If you’re interested, here’s Vlogmas Day 1 (please have very low expectations, ha). And I would love if you would leave a comment on the page or a “thumbs up”!

It’s Almost December!

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So! I have been toying with the idea of doing another 30-day challenge in January – which is challenging myself to wear a different outfit every day in January, but now I’m thinking that, instead, maybe I’ll do Vlogmas (vlogging every day in December leading up to Christmas)! I’m SO not prepared for that, but I’m a big believer in just jumping in first and figuring it out later…and vlogging Every Single Day will help me get up-to-speed on All Things Vloggy pretty darn quick!

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It could be awful..for me AND you, ha! But I think I’m going to give it a go…if I can’t do it, I can’t do it…but I’ll certainly give it the old college try. They’ll be short, maybe 5-10 minutes a day, more or less. So…I know you’re excited, ha ha! If you want to witness this, just subscribe to my Fashion Schlub YouTube channel.

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That aside, this is another day of tripod/remote shutter selfies. On this day, a man walked his dog up to where I was shooting and proceeded to ask questions about what I was doing, including “would you like to take a picture with Miss Wiggles?” Uh, OF COURSE!!!

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Then a town worker truck pulled up, and they knew one another, so THAT guy got out of the truck and started asking me questions about what I was doing…and then they both stood there watching me. AWKWARD. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too many pictures that day. And they’re really not doing this outfit justice, because I LOVE this potato sacky dress from ASOS Curve (their plus size section) and faux leather jacket by Chelsea & Theodore via Gwynnie Bee…and I loved them together. But I didn’t get to check my car window reflection between shots so my wig was wacky and the jacket was askew and my tights are dirty. But that’s real life, so. There ya go.

Speaking of Real Life, I’ve just uploaded another video, “Switching Out My Plus Size Wardrobe from Summer to Winter: Part 2,” wherein I get all my cold weather clothes out of storage, cull through them to decide what stays and what goes, and add the “stayers” into my closet. It’s scintillating stuff, be sure to watch.

What I Wore:

* Asos Navy Ripple Stitch Dress, size 22
* Chelsea & Theodore Taupe Drape Front Faux Leather Jacket, via Gwynnie Bee, size 2x

Today I’m linking up with A Labour of Life and her Labour of Fashion link-up party!

2017 Plus Size Fall Haul #1 (with video!)

I finally bit the bullet and purchased some new plus size fall wardrobe items online…and I thought I’d share with you my thoughts about the items I got.

I purchased items from online shopping sites: Full Beauty/Woman Within/Jessica London, Forever 21, Asos, Thred-Up, Rainbow Shops, Gwynnie Bee and Old Navy. These are all in size 2x or 3x. It wasn’t such a successful shop and most of the items have already been returned…and as soon as I get all my refunds I’ll give it another try.

I rant a bit about spending money on “basics,” when they’re really so simple and invisible…and about brands using inconsistent sizing.

I apologize for it being SO so long. I considered cutting it in half and doing a Part 1 and Part 2, but….let’s just move on with it, shall we?

I spent almost the entire day last Saturday recording this fall haul; this vlog stuff has a steep learning curve! It took me so long, by the last couple of outfits the video is so dark you can barely see the color of the items I’m wearing! I also committed the cardinal sin of videoing, which is filming in portrait orientation (instead of landscape) – GAH! I’m having some video/photography challenges in the new apartment still, so bear with me while I get my space and lighting figured out!

If you have any questions about the items, please comment here or in the comments section underneath the video.

Size Matters

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No, I’m not talking about THAT. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter.

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I’m talking about clothing sizing. And how *annoying* it is. It’s hard enough to find clothes that fit, but when you have roadblocks all throughout your shopping travels, it’s nearly impossible. Things like: clothing manufacturers not adhering to a global sizing standard, items being available in straight (and even petite) size that don’t exist in plus sizes, or one of my biggest pet peeves, clothing that gets taller/longer as the sizes go up.

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According to Livestrong.com, the average height of non-Hispanic white women is 5’4.” And here’s a shocking fact: as we gain weight, we do not also get TALLER. We get WIDER. But in my search for Sizing that Works for Me, I keep finding lines that get taller as they get larger. Melissa McCarthy’s plus line is very “tall.” Target’s Ava & Viv does this. So does Lane Bryant. I was excited to try something from the new Target line, A New Day, but guess what? Same fit issue as Ava & Viv. As I sized up to accommodate my hips/belly (my largest part), the item length stretched down towards my knees and the sleeves were absolutely ridiculous! UGH!!!

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So, imagine my delight in coming across Loft’s (soon to be released) plus size collection. First I tried a swing dress – my go-to default style. Very good. THEN I got brave and tried a more straight cut dress (shown) and BAM! Not only were the measurements hip-friendly, the proportions stayed true to an average height woman (I happen to be 5’3″ so am just below average height) – the shoulders were not swallowing my upper body, the sleeves were a good length, and the dress length itself was good.

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I. Am. So. Pleased. THANK YOU, LOFT. I understand their plus-size line will go live in early 2018…but they did a small release to Gwynnie Bee and that is how I was able to try several pieces.

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I now have several companies/designers that I know I can buy from, and as long as I stick to certain styles, items will fit. That sounds simple but it was a long time coming and a LOT of trial and error. Avenue tends to fit a wider, shorter body. Old Navy Plus can get a couple inches long in larger sizes, but the shoulders fit well and you can always have the length shortened. Asos Curve items *usually* fit a shorter, wider silhouette (though I’ve had the occasional ridiculous outlier there). And now Loft. I am grateful for these baby steps designers/manufacturers are taking in the fashion world. I do long for a day when everything I see in a straight size will also be available in a plus size, but til then…things are better than they *were,* by FAR.

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PS: if your brain is still thinking about sex, maybe take a look at a recent post by Shelbee On The Edge, she  wrote about “The Midlife Sex Conundrom.”

I’m happily linking up with #iwillwearwhatilike

What I Wore:

 

Did you know you can try Gwynnie Bee FREE for 30 days?? Just follow the banner ad below for more details and to sign up.Fall Collection 2017

Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited

I’m Cranky, but…

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I’ve been feeling very cranky this week. Everything is pissing me off: my keyboard, the mouse, the dog, the bug that keeps buzzing in my ear at night, the return of heat and humidity, this %&(&^!! acne. And more.

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In trying to figure out what the REAL issue is…I think it’s the waste of this entire year to stupid cancer and the accompanying surgery and treatments. I’ve felt crappy for too long, I’ve been stuck inside and sedentary for too long, I’ve missed out on doing fun things with friends and Caleb…and myself.

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So, treatments are over. I certainly don’t FEEL better yet…but I’m trying to force myself out a little more. A teeny tiny walk with the dog. Sitting in my chair at the beach at sunset. Having ice cream with a friend in town. Easy things but…IT’S GETTING ME OUT OF THE DAMN HOUSE!!!

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So, as the title said, I’m cranky, but…I’ve tried to keep things as easy for myself as possible this year (well, except for moving, ha ha – that was not ideal timing but it’s done). A dress like this helps. The Sharagano dress is a drapey chambray (I think it feels like a Tencel blend) and SO easy peasy to wear. It’s a loose swirly tent-fit and hardly wrinkles. I rented it through Gwynnie Bee and when the sale price went to SIXTEEN DOLLARS I snatched it right up. I love this spicey orangey rust color and it goes well with several of my duster length cardigans so I can wear it well into the autumn.

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And oh yeah, POCKETS.

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So, yes, I’m cranky, but…things are GOING to get better. Each week a little more of the chemo poison will leave my body and I’ll start feeling better and better. I’ll be able to start living MY life again…not CANCER’S life. Stupid cancer.

Soon I’ll be spending less time laying in bed and more time watching sunsets.

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Pictures taken by my friend Karen. Thanks!

Transitioning….

Transitioning from summer to fall…transitioning to my new hood….so many ch-ch-ch-changes going on!

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There’s certainly no shortage of lovely scenery around here for shooting…this is a park and marina a half mile from the apartment. It’s *really* nice at sunset.

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This dress is from a special collection by Ann Taylor Loft via Gwynnie Bee. No, Loft does not typically do plus sizes (sadface). But I was able to rent a couple pieces from the collection through Gwynnie Bee, and I really love this dress. It’s a blue/grey paisley print jersey knit sleeveless swing dress (MY FAVORITE!!!). And by just adding a lightweight black longline cardigan over top, I could extend the outfit well into the cooler temps of fall.

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I haven’t done much exploring in the area yet but yesterday after the shoot I did drive around just a little bit and found the yacht club which also had a lovely view.

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It’s a very “walky” and “doggy” area. Parks, many restaurants, etc. welcome dogs and that’s so nice.

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The paint. Not really wet.

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I look forward to feeling better SOON and being able to walk around more and bringing Caleb with me.

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What I Wore:

New Beginnings

Well, this weekend I moved into the new place! That was H-A-R-D, between not feeling well while packing, having chemo two days before moving, etc. Fortunately I had a lot of support on moving day and we got’er done in record time. Unpacking is another story, but at least everything I own is in one place again. More or less 🙂

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I’ve felt a little disoriented all weekend – sleeping in a new place, not knowing where my things are (I mean, they’re all in boxes, but WHICH boxes?!), feeling more tired than usual. It’s making everything feel a little surreal.

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Everyone keeps asking “aren’t you excited for your new beginning?” And I AM, I just can’t really FEEL it yet, if that makes sense. I have to come out of this disorienting fog and exhaustion first – new beginnings are great, but they’re also hard. Big changes and all that. Change is exciting but exhausting.

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My honorary niece, Gracie The Warrior Princess.

My daughter is coming over shortly with some groceries (and a garbage can!) and to help me get a little unpacked, so I can locate things like underwear and a pot to make soup in. I’ll feel better once I REALLY know where things are, not just “here somewhere.”

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This was the first time I wore this dress – and THAT was an easy “new beginning.” Another loose and easy-fitting dress, which was a blessing at this time. It’s a Style&Co dress via Gwynnie Bee, in a 3x. Lightweight blue Tencel, my favorite dress fabric, with a subtle white bandana print – you can see the print best in the last photo. On my head I’m wearing a vintage silk scarf that belonged to my mother. And my favorite Superga velcro sneakers.

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I found the Halloween decorations, I’m so relieved!

AND we did this little photo shoot at the new apartment! There’s a little new apartment tour at the end of this blog post, which is WAY less embarrassing than the old apartment post from last week – be sure to watch and “like” on YouTube!

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I *know* this is a good new beginning for me and as soon as I feel better I will jump up and down and shout HUZZAH! Well, maybe I’ll stand up and say Huzzah. But I will definitely FEEL like jumping up and down.

And let me know if you want to see further apartment adventures along with the outfit posts…I’m going to be videoing anyway so I can easily share if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all enjoying your week!

Bettye xoxo